It’s time to make some upgrades — give your home and property a breath of fresh air. Whether you’re planning to sell, you want to make home improvements that will raise your property value in Minneapolis.
While thinking about house projects, it’s important to identify with either Tim the Toolman Taylor or Al Boreland. That is, will you screw it up and land in the ER? Or do you have the time and patience to do a good job?
We’ve compiled a list of improvements and broken down the potential benefits of each.
Table of Contents
This article will cover:
- DIY vs. Contractor Projects
- Getting the Best Return on Your Investment
- Landscaping Trends That Improve Property Value
- Indoor Projects
- Smart Home Features
- Worst Investment Projects
DIY vs. Contractor Projects
Everyone loves the idea of sweat-equity, but some jobs are better left to the experts. For plumbing, electrical, and structural work, it’s definitely worth employing a certified pro. But tiling, flooring, and painting are all reasonable DIY projects.
Contractors typically charge around 20% of the project’s total, meaning you’ll be spending a good bit more than if you did it yourself. However, there are benefits to this.
Contractors work more quickly, putting an end to the work zone. They also have specialized training to ensure the corners are painted well and the tile lines up just so. There’s also the benefit of avoiding injury or making a mistake that has to be redone.
Keep in mind: Potential homebuyers might see a poor DIY job as a sign of other hidden issues.
Building code permits
Anything that requires a permit is best left to a contractor. There’s a reason the city or county requires the extra paperwork. Every community has different regulations and requirements. Additions, siding, pools, retaining walls, decks, and remodels all need a permit in Minneapolis.
You’ll need to do some research to find how to get permits. If you’re working with a contractor, he can likely fast track that process. Missing or incorrect permits will slow down a job, and might even lead to fines.
Getting the Best Return on Your Investment
If you’re planning to sell your house, you probably are thinking about which projects to complete. Consider the ROI (return on investment) to help you determine what to do and what to skip.
While repairs are necessary for listing, not all projects are created equal. Some projects have a better ROI than others.
Landscaping Trends that Improve Property Value
Projects with the best ROI start outside. Since curb appeal attracts buyers, outdoor projects can deliver as much as a 200% return, and can add more than 10% to a property’s overall value. And landscaping doesn’t have to be expensive to add value.
A manicured lawn
Forget about location. The three Ls are ‘landscaping, lawn, and leafy trees.” The lawn is the welcome mat to your home, and it’s crucial to keep it in good shape.
Realtors say investing a few hundred dollars in a lawn care service can net you a 350% return on your investment.
While hibiscus and orchid plants might make you forget about the impending winters, tropical plants won’t do well in Minneapolis.
For low maintenance gardening, you want to stick to native varieties like daylilies. Such plants will attract pollinators and prolong the growing season.
You can also choose plants that deter insects to add both beauty and comfort to your yard. English lavender grows well in the north and will keep the mosquitos at bay.
For both shade and privacy, trees are the best investment. For healthy arbors that are low maintenance, select native species like the bur oak.
The National Association of Realtors estimates you’ll spend a few thousand dollars on tree care, but you’ll recoup that at sale time.
Keep in mind: It’s not just the cost of planting, watering, and fertilizing the trees you need to worry about. Leaf cleanup and removal can cost you another $300 each season.
Plant those trees close to your home, and you’re looking at another $100 for gutter cleaning.
Safe and attractive walkways and outdoor spaces always improve property value. Some will require more maintenance than others.
Concrete, stone, or pavers
While some materials are better than others, the real value in outdoor projects is in the functionality. Pavers, brick, or pea gravel all make functional walkways.
Cobblestone and poured concrete walkways may cost a bit more, but they may last longer.
A simple fire pit is a sure-fire way to recoup your investment. A fire pit has the added benefit of being usable throughout spring, summer, and fall. Because of this, most sellers see an ROI of around 75%.
Before you get started, check the laws in your community. Why? A backyard fire after 10 p.m. could cost you a $200 fine.
A well-planned retaining wall will increase property value.
Retaining walls increase usable space and complement the features of your home. They also can help with sloping lawns.
Decks, patios and gazebos
Patios and decks both offer a great return on investment, with patios providing a greater return in Minnesota.
Pergolas, gazebos, and screened-in rooms also add to a property’s value. Outdoor living spaces are huge selling points, and they add to the usable space in your home.
It’s important to keep the average Mill City buyer in mind as you make these updates. Anything super-personalized will not add to the bottom line.
You can expect to see about a 50% ROI for these improvements. It’s important to consider materials, maintenance needs, and convenience. If it won’t get used or will be expensive to take care of, the ROI will be less.
For safety and ambiance, outdoor lighting is a great improvement to any property. Motion-activated lights deter intruders, while low-voltage lighting can add to the appeal of your home.
Adding convenience and reducing operating costs, solar options are a great feature. You can anticipate recouping about 50% of what you put into a lighting update.
Sprinkler systems are an easy set-it-and-forget-it way to take care of a Minneapolis lawn. A buried sprinkler system that functions on a preset routine can bring as much as 85% back when it’s time to sell.
Drip irrigation systems are ideal for flower beds and gardens. This is an update with a low cost and a considerable return.
Fencing for value
Fencing below 7 feet in height can be installed without a permit or contractor. Fencing serves a dual purpose: keeping unwanted guests out, and the kids and dogs in.
While choosing your fence, consider the visual appeal. A chain-link fence gives off a different vibe than a white picket fence.
Backyard fencing is a great investment for which you will see at least a 50% ROI. In the front yard, however, you won’t see as large of a return. It’s not uncommon for prospective buyers to see a front yard fence as a lack of curb appeal.
Regardless of what you type of fence you choose to build, we recommend you conduct a site survey and ensure proper zoning.
Some kitchen updates are worth the investment. Millennial homebuyers prefer open and updated kitchens that are clean, functional, and bright. But not everyone wants a wine chiller, pot filler, or industrial-sized range hood.
Updating cabinet fronts and replacing worn laminate countertops will give your kitchen a fresh look. Installing quality, energy-efficient, matching appliances will impress prospective buyers.
Bonus points: You can benefit from these updates between now and closing.
People are really into organization and maximizing space. Updating closets with shelving and quality racks is an easy DIY project using prefab systems from your local home store.
A quick color change can really refresh a space, and pretty much anyone can paint. It’s important to have the right materials, invest in quality paint, and take your time.
Some projects, such as painting the front door black can net you an extra $6,000 at sale time.
Hiring a professional painter typically costs between $4 and $7 per-square-foot. On the other hand, a DIY painting project will be closer to $1 per square foot.
Keep in mind: Painting some areas, like around kitchen cabinets and wood trim, requires a level of detail that might make it worth it to hire a pro.
Tiling a small space, such as a bathroom, is definitely a weekend project. Take the time to study up on the method, measure twice, and put on some good music.
DIY homeowners can tackle laminate, vinyl, and tile flooring. However, hardwood flooring is absolutely better left to the professionals.
A light refresh in the bathroom, such as replacing a mirror or resurfacing cabinet doors, is a doable DIY project. Updating drawer pulls can have a dramatic effect, and they are easily switched out in an afternoon.
If your updating includes new countertops or rearranging the layout of your bathrooms, it’s important to get a contractor on board. This is also a job that typically requires permitting.
Finishing the basement
With an ROI around 70%, finished basements are a great selling point. Added living space, bedrooms, office space, or just flex space will intrigue buyers.
Finishing the basement will require permits, and you need to ensure proper egress.
Durable flooring, drywall, lighting, and electrical are the basics for a finished basement. Adding a half bath or wet bar will add even more value.
Doors and windows
Updating doors and windows leads to about 90% ROI. Most homebuyers aren’t looking to do major renovations, so replacing windows can seem daunting. Upgrading to energy-efficient windows will interest buyers.
Smart Home Features
For the most part, smart home features won’t deliver a significant increase in value. However, having smart home technology in your home can tip the scales in your favor when someone is considering purchasing.
A smart thermostat such as Nest or Honeywell will definitely increase perceived value. Not only are these systems convenient, but they save money on utilities over time.
Automatic or programmable outdoor lights increase curb appeal and safety. Porch lights and floodlights are more functional with smart technology.
Garage doors and locks
Keypads, cameras, and the ability to control the door from anywhere? This is a feature that impresses many people.
If you see yourself using the smart locks, then it’s a worthwhile investment for you. However, you won’t get much ROI on your smart locks when you sell your home, as not everyone is on board with smart lock technology yet.
Worst Investment Projects
If your primary goal is a sizable return on your investment, you should reconsider the backyard pool.
Most homebuyers see nothing but maintenance, safety hazards, and dollar signs. This is particularly true in Minneapolis, where a pool is useless three-fourths of the year.
Outdoor kitchens are also more for your own enjoyment than a draw for buyers. Here’s why: Anything highly specialized in design or use is unlikely to entice buyers.
Small ponds and water features create a sense of zen in any backyard, but they won’t bring you a return on your investment. The maintenance work and plumbing costs could be a real turnoff to buyers.
Don’t Forget the Small Stuff
One of the most exciting things about homeownership is the pride you feel working with your hands. The downside, unfortunately, is the long to-do list and the endless small projects.
Some of the smallest updates for your Minneapolis home, like new house numbers, a modern mailbox, and a fun front door, can have the biggest impact when selling your house.
Whatever updates you choose to take on, keep in mind the required maintenance, both physically and financially, as well as your goal of reaching a broad audience of potential buyers.
Main Photo Credit: Flickr